…give his reasons
Dr Jude Adindu Nnanna is the Chief Executive Officer of Jude Elswitch Limited , an Electrical Engineering firm, businessman and founder, GLAD Foundation that renders humanitarian services. In this interview, he identified the major problems of Nigeria and proffered possible solutions to them. As one who believes in one and indivisible Nigeria, he enjoined the citizens to always do what would help to strengthen the peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.
What have you identified as major problems of Nigeria?
Obviously, Nigeria’s main problem is tribalism, and others are religion and selfishness.
I would say that Nigerians are managing to survive. No one will deny the fact that things are very tough in the country as a result of mismanagement of public funds. Those in control of the affairs know that. However, what we should do, is to stop the blame game and think of how to get out of the situation, and move up to the next level they promised us.
How did Nigeria get to this serious point of decay?
Let us not think much about the past because military incursion took Nigeria back for 50 years, whereby the constitution was suspended and we were ruled by decree. So, it will take sometime before we would get out of it. If those military were people with vision for nation building, we would have been counting our blessings by now. But unfortunately, they were all adventurists, who have ambitions to get into power.
What is the solution to Nigeria’s challenges?
I advise that we should start to empower people, think more about education, how much that has been voted for it and how much that should have been voted for it. Health wise, do we have the world standard to look at? Security wise, we should also know how many policemen in place to secure the people as UN recommends? Shelter, electricity and other facilities should be made available for the people, as applicable in other countries. If all these are in order, things will certainly change for good. Importantly, this is the right time for our political office holders to sacrifice part of their take home packages and goodies they receive, that make them not to leave. Many of them do not care about those that are down and how many heads that have been crushed. Nigerians should not continue to keep quiet and pretend not to know this.
However, God made it that we have inherited one country. Therefore, what we need is a President who has the vision and mission to make Nigeria great, who will make sure that the walls that tribalism, religion and the one some selfish people have built, are gradually made to diminish. You will find out that every Nigerian’s interest is to get food at cheaper rate, be clothed, have shelter over his head, his children given access to education, women and the children have access to health care facilities, and security of lives and property ensured. Nigeria is presently under a serious security threats, and the efforts being put in place to curtail it are not enough. Maybe, the so-called leaders think that if armed robbers come, they will not have access to them, forgetting that a stray bullet may touch them in one way or the other. So, the issue of security needs to be given more serious attention.
Many are warming up from the North and South to succeed President Buhari in 2023, agitating that it is their turn, what do you say about such move?
For me, talking about who becomes the president should not be a religious or tribal war. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a Christian was there, and did not turn the country to a christian nation. Dr Goodluck Jonathan is from South- South and a Christian too was there, and did not turn Nigeria to a Christian nation, or turn his hometown Otueke to London or America. Even the North had it. Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Yar Adua were all there and did not turn Nigeria to an ethnic or religious nation or turn their communities and villages to Dubai. For that reason, I should say that what every Nigerian should be talking about is having somebody who will think about Nigeria, at the helm of affairs. It may be difficult now, but a journey of thousand miles , starts with a single step. I believe that it is doable. I see that the origin of the Nigerian Youth Service scheme and the idea behind it is the Nigerianess whereby, some people who are still in their formative ages and hot- headed people who come out from the universities, are meant to serve in areas, outside their own. Igbo are sent to the North or South South, Hausa to South West or South East, Yoruba to the North or South East etc. The idea is for them to experience and interact with people of different cultural and religious background, and then come out to admire that diversity of Nigeria that makes Nigeria to be unique and beautiful. If that is the case, I know some Hausa live in Igbo and Yoruba lands and inter marry. Also, Igbo inter marry with Yoruba and other ethnic groups. There are many Nigerians who are neither hundred percent Igbo, Hausa nor Yoruba. If these things are done at that level and it is working for us, why can’t we apply it at the national level? I believe it is possible. I have read people’s views on this matter and therefore do not subscribe to the idea of president of Nigeria based on tribe or religion.
What do you think is the implication of electing a president of a country based on tribe or religion?
I could remember when Nelson Mandela came out from prison, he said if he could move the majority black against the minority white, he has supported another apartheid which he was imprisoned for 29 years. If you talk about a Muslim being the president of Nigeria and emphasise on it, and make him realise his muslim background, automatically, you are trying to rub it to their faces of Christians and some others groups who are neither muslims nor christians. After all, what benefit do muslims derive in ensuring that a Muslim becomes the president of Nigeria? Can they articulate such benefits and place them on the table for people to see? Also, can the Christians bring their own agenda on the table why they want a Christian President in Nigeria? The rain falls and sun shines for everybody. When the flood comes, they do not discriminate. They do not know whether one is a christian, muslim, Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba. If we are able to make Nigerian constitution sacrosanct and allow everyone to practise whatever he is practicing, like freedom of association, religion etc, how then will we be talking about a president under religion and ethnicity?
It is also enshrined in the constitution that no religion or tribe is superior to the other. So, we should be talking about Nigerianess, not religion or tribe as we are seeing today.
What is the way forward for Nigerian politics, especially as it concerns 2023?
We need to start now to draw the roadmap for the redemption of Nigeria, it could be Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and others, they should start now to interact with us. Our campaign should be that we want a Nigerian who will defend our constitution. Look at it and say which areas are amendable. I do not believe in the agitation of many Nigerians saying; ‘it is our turn’ to be president. It must be Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa.
Do you believe that Igbo are marginalised in Nigeria?
If we talk about marginalisation, you should understand that politics is a game of number. The one with higher number will surely suppress the lower. So, if any ethnic group like Igbo is feeling marginalised, her prayers should be working towards having a Nigeria, where everybody has a say and fair share. The system should be made in such a way that if anyone is going to the centre with the mindset that he is representing his tribe or religion, he will fail and go back to square one.
What are the solutions to the political problem in Nigeria?
What I am thinking is that there should be a definition of nationhood, vision and dream. Until that is done, we will not make headway. Therefore, the National Orientation Agency needs to work out what should be the common vision or dream of Nigeria as a nation. And, the indoctrination of everyone should be that this is the Nigeria of our dream. There should be time attached to it. After some months or years, we go back and assess how much we have been able to achieve, how far we have gone on our dream and vision to nationhood.
Are you saying the North could continue in 2023?
I want a Nigerian who knows what the problems of Nigeria are and what are the solutions. He will be able to convince us starting from now, and not during the campaign period. He should be on the television, newspapers, social media telling us the kind of Nigeria we should aspire for and the roadmap to achieving greater nation. Whether Hausa, Igbo , Yoruba or minorities, they should start now to interact with us. No Nigerian has the sole birth right to be president of the country.
What steps should be taken to make Nigeria one?
We have the Ministry of information and National Orientation Agency who should come out to know who are Nigerians? What are they expected to do? And what they should expect from Nigeria. Unfortunately, what we have passed through in the country, has made the minds of every Nigerian so distorted, to an extent that people have completely lost hope in the nationhood. So, it is the duty of some of the organised institutions to come out with the civic studies, to let us know our stand in the country. Then, the Federal Government should give room for anyone who wants to project what Nigerianess means, and give opportunity for people to be heard.
You run an NGO called GLAD Foundation, what are you into?
We give little assistance to the less privileged in the society to survive, because we found out that the major thing now is survival. We do that by giving them some information, counseling where needed, encouraging them to engage in things that are profitable, and by supporting them in the various things they do. Give people hope, government, the nation and in God. We now have a wide coverage.
In what ways do Glad Foundation give hope to people?
You see, if you see someone that is in need, it is not enough to say God bless him, rather, you should also do that by putting hands in the pocket to offer something or use your substances to bless the person. So, we go beyond God bless you.
How far has GLAD Foundation gone?
Through our three programmes in a year -Easter Glad feast and interactions with the youths in December, we have been able to let the young people know that they can do it. We tell them that tomorrow will be better, if you start with something today. In fact, we are working in our little way. The best plan for the future, is to start doing something now.